The Clouded Mount Icon of the Mother of God

Clouded Mount Icon (Тучная Гора Икона Божией Матери)

Clouded Mount Icon (Тучная Гора Икона Божией Матери)

The Uncut Icon of the Mother of God, also called the “Clouded Mount” (Ru: Tuchnaya Gora – Тучная Гора) is particularly associated with the Annunciation (March 25), as this icon was revealed as miracle-working on the eve of the feast.

In the 18th century, the icon was presented by the abbot of the Tver monastery to Cosmas Volchaninov, in gratitude for his fine work in the monastery’s church. Taken from the monastery, it was passed on from generation to generation in the Volchaninov family, until it came into the possession of one of Cosmas’ grandsons.

This grandson treated his wife harshly, and allowed his relatives to do likewise. Being impious, he hid the icon of the Clouded Mount away in an attic. It was in this atmosphere of worldly sin that the icon suddenly revealed the glory of God, in accordance with the words of Jesus Christ: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)

In despair over her marriage, the wife of this impious grandson resolved to commit suicide in a deserted bath-house. On the way there, on the Eve of the Annunciation, a monk appeared to her and said, “Where are you going, unhappy one? Go back, pray to the Theotokos of The Clouded Mountain, and you will live in peace.”

The agitated young wife returned home and revealed everything, including her intention to commit suicide. They searched for the monk, but they did not find him, and no one had seen him but her. However, they found the icon of the Mother of God in the attic. In the icon, the Mother of God stood full-length on a rounded mound, the mount, holding Christ in her left arm. Christ was leaning over to bless the small mountain held in Mary’s right hand; on top of the mountain were churches with many cupolas and crosses. Recognizing this as the icon the monk referred to, the family cleaned off the dirt and set it up in the house in a place of honor. In the evening, the parish priest served the all-night Vigil before the icon. From that time, Vigil was served in the house every year on the eve of the Annunciation, celebrating the joy that was brought to the house.

For more than 150 years the icon was in the family until Katherine, the last of the Volchaninov line, married George Ivanovich Konyaev, taking with her the icon of the Mother of God as a precious inheritance.

In 1863 near a cemetery church of the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God it was decided to build a chapel in honor of St Tikhon and St Macarius of Kalyazin. The then owner of the icon, George Konyaev, already 92 years old, wanted to donate the icon of the Theotokos to the church. He asked the clergy to build another chapel for the wonderworking icon of the Mother of God of the “Clouded Mountain.” He said:

I feel the very best place for it is the temple of the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God, since the place on which the church was built, in former times was called a Mount, since it was the highest place in the city. The inhabitants took their possessions to the Mount and saved themselves from ruin during a flood. Let the icon, The Clouded Mountain, remain on this mountain with your blessing, and let all who are buried here be veiled with Her mercy.


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